Visual Communications Certificate: Program Summary

A program that culminates in a visual communications certificate provides students with the skills, tools, and design knowledge needed for publishing software and graphics.

Essential Information

Within this certificate program, students learn about visual communication history and techniques, and they keep up with developments in the fields of film and video technologies, desktop publishing, and graphic design. They learn to communicate effectively through design, properly utilize visual communications terminology, and even identify how differences in demography affect communication. Certificate programs in visual communications generally require at least a high school diploma or GED.

Certificate in Visual Communications

Some academic institutions offer a visual communications certificate program in conjunction with other degree and certificate programs, enhancing skills with its interdisciplinary nature. The coursework involved in a visual communications certificate program typically combines specialized study in illustration, print design and web design. Courses typically cover the following topics:

  • Graphic design basics
  • Communication graphics history
  • Illustration concepts
  • Digital imaging fundamentals
  • Web design principles
  • Adobe Photoshop use

Popular Career Options

Program graduates can work in many settings as full or part-time employees or as freelancers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graduates can seek employment in a variety of organizations (; examples include advertising agencies, design firms, publishing companies, private studios, and commercial art studios.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, the median annual salary earned by graphic designers in May 2015 was $46,900. The same year, the Bureau indicated that art directors earned a median salary of $89,760 annually.

The employment of graphic designers is projected to grow by about 1% during the decade spanning from 2014 to 2024, seeing little to no change in growth for all occupations. Art directors will likely see a less dramatic change in employment, as job opportunities in the field are expected to increase by 2%, slower than the average for all job sectors.

Continuing Education Information

Upon successful completion of this certificate program, students can go on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in visual communications. The BLS says that a bachelor's degree is typically required for entry-level positions, and graphic designers are expected to keep up with new design software and computer graphics.

Visual communication certificate programs offer specialized training in the field, including techniques and history. Completion of a visual communications certificate program may open the door for employment opportunities in illustration, web design, and graphic design.

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